Fear of Social Media

by Vered DeLeeuw

Some companies are afraid to use social media. When I suggest that they start a blog, or that they interact with customers and prospects via Twitter, they say, “But what if we make a mistake? What if there’s backlash against us?”

I think they’re wrong.

When you join social media and start interacting with your customers directly, there’s a certain risk of course. You COULD say something really stupid and get people mad. Case in point: the recent Motrin fiasco. Motrin posted an online ad on their website about a year ago. The ad was supposed to be “cute” and, I’m sure, viral, but moms all over the Internet thought that the campaign was offensive and were very vocal about it.

Motrin had made a mistake. So what? They took off the ad, apologized, and moved on to create better social media campaigns.

Really, there’s no need to fear social media. When a brand uses social media, it gives them a face. It humanizes them. Customers love it and they WILL forgive a brand that made a mistake as long as the brand owns up to it and apologizes.

On the other hand, if you avoid social media, you risk being left behind. You can’t allow yourself not to use social media if your competitors are using it and if your customers and prospects are using it. And if you think that by not using social media you maintain more control over your image, think again: customers will still talk about you and voice their opinions – but you won’t be there to monitor what they are saying about you and to do damage control.

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